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Good resources for understanding atheism
Posted: 23 January 2014 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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MikeYohe - 18 January 2014 04:03 PM

Elaine Pagels has written a lot of books that help with the understanding of religion.

But first you have to figure out what were/are your thoughts on religion.
Most Americans are Faith Based, or put another way, it’s all in your mind and the bible and god really have little to do with your belief.

The best advice I can give you is to ask a question. Then using the internet, answer that question.
In answering that question you will come up with five more questions.
Pick one and search for the answer on the internet. Answer a lot of questions and you will find understanding.

To me the best resource is the internet.

That seems to be true for me.

One of most influential factors in my beliefs over the last few years has been participating on an Astronomy and Science forum that doesn’t allow the discussion of religion and politics due to their contentious nature. I find the more I participate there and develop critical thinking skills the less important religion becomes. The main reason I even think about religion now is I live in a world where most people believe in sky bullies or other supernatural entities and I’m working on developing effective ways to live among people who in my opinion are fundamentally delusional. And quite possibly dangerously so.

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Posted: 24 January 2014 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Fuzzy Logic - 23 January 2014 10:01 PM
MikeYohe - 18 January 2014 04:03 PM

Elaine Pagels has written a lot of books that help with the understanding of religion.

But first you have to figure out what were/are your thoughts on religion.
Most Americans are Faith Based, or put another way, it’s all in your mind and the bible and god really have little to do with your belief.

The best advice I can give you is to ask a question. Then using the internet, answer that question.
In answering that question you will come up with five more questions.
Pick one and search for the answer on the internet. Answer a lot of questions and you will find understanding.

To me the best resource is the internet.

That seems to be true for me.

One of most influential factors in my beliefs over the last few years has been participating on an Astronomy and Science forum that doesn’t allow the discussion of religion and politics due to their contentious nature. I find the more I participate there and develop critical thinking skills the less important religion becomes. The main reason I even think about religion now is I live in a world where most people believe in sky bullies or other supernatural entities and I’m working on developing effective ways to live among people who in my opinion are fundamentally delusional. And quite possibly dangerously so.

You nailed it: Greater Education equals Less Religion. That’s one reason Righties are so anti-intellectual.

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Posted: 24 January 2014 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Fuzzy,
A couple of internet pointers in searching for answers. Ask a question, get 2-5 M hits. That’s too many. Redefine you question for less hits. If you still get too many then I use “site:edu” which will put me in the colleges and universities sites only. If still too many hits, then I figure it is a popular subject and there is a lot of information and many different view point. So next I change the time to the last year or last month. 

There is so much more data on the internet today, but that has not always been the case. About nine years ago I thought I would read the bible. I started out with Genesis, I research back to the oldest translations so that I would have an understanding of the level and skill used in the translating of the bible.  I did not get very far in the bible until I was working with about 5 or 6 different gods. Not finding the answer on the internet that was logical and fit in with my research, I ended up calling different professors and talking to them about the data. The best help I got was from rabbis in Israel.

Another time I was trying to understand the central banking system that was used back in the B.C. time period.  I could not find answers on the internet, so I contacted professors of the subject, and they agreed that there had to be a form of central banking but as banking is secret today, it was just as secret back then and no data is available.  Point being not all answers can be found.

Another point is to sit back and look at the overall picture and you will see everything evolves and some items have cycles.

Next work from a timeline. The time line is the datum point that tells you where to start to look for answers for your questions.

As example, in America the Christians believe that their religion started with the creation of earth 6 to 7 thousand years ago. In reality America’s religions really got going into a force and formed into the religions and thought processes as we know them today in the mid 1800’s.

The timeline I use is that religion is as old as mankind. All religions around the world started with the Red Ochre based religions, then we have mankind on the endanger extinction list from 74,000 to 71,000 years ago. This created small pockets of mankind. One of the pockets in the area of India created the Vega based religions, of which is the base of all the religions except those in the Americas and parts of Africa. But today you will find several professors that are matching up items of the religions in the Americas with the Vega based religion.

This brings us to the religions that are around at that beginning of history (writing). Another point in the timeline. Pre-history religions to history religions.

The next task is to have several timelines. One for spoken languages. Several for the DNA timelines of man, animals, and plants. One for money and trade. One for weather, floods and natural disasters. One for plagues and starvation.  One for Leprosy.  One for technical advances of man. One for Egypt. One for clothing. One for food and diet of man. One for the evolution of the types of gods, (heaven, animal, animal/man, man, spirit). One for wars. One for the use of metals and building materials. One for math, measurement, weight, music and education in general. And one for Laws and contracts.

All these timelines need to match each other and then we will have some idea of our past history. The one I like the best and find the most helpful is the domestication timeline of plants and animals done by DNA.

One of the upcoming timelines is the Leprosy timeline. The Asians had several expansions and ended up in the Americas. So why were they not in Europe and the Middle East? We are just now finding out they were. At one time about 40 percent of Europe was lost to Leprosy. The Asians have no defense from Leprosy. This alone requires the rewriting of history.

Once you feel that you have a little understanding of your forefathers, then and only then should you try and understand the bible. It is this understanding that will make the bible and religion understandable as what it really is.

Hope this helps, Mike

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Posted: 24 January 2014 11:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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The Newer More English Version will give you an insight into the mind of an atheist… Find it on amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Newer-More-English-Version-ebook/dp/B00CPL2P0K/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1375261491

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Posted: 24 January 2014 11:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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[ Edited: 24 January 2014 11:38 PM by TMPC00 ]
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Posted: 25 January 2014 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Very interesting Mike, thanks.

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Posted: 01 February 2014 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Overcomer - 13 January 2014 08:56 AM

Atheism is not simply a lack of belief as some here suggest.  It is the belief that there is no such thing as God.  The belief that there is no such thing as God is as much a truth claim as the belief that there is a God and, therefore, requires evidence to back it up just as the theist claim does. 

Being an atheist is not a default position, but a choice.  Look at it this way:  A baby doesn’t believe in God, but we can’t call that baby an atheist because that baby doesn’t have the intellect or the information to make that decision.

In a way, you’re right.  There are many emotional reasons to believe in God.  Our brains naturally look for intelligent agents in everything, whether they exist or not.  It’s emotionally comforting to think that some great Father figure rules the universe mitigating bad things that might happen to us.  It’s comforting to believe that we never really die, but move into some other plane of existence.  Left to itself, a baby will probably grow up to believe in God for those reasons.  What we atheists tend to do is realize that just being emotionally comforting does not necessarily mean that it’s true.  We’ve made the decision to let reason be our guide because in our experience it’s more likely to lead to objective truth.  In a way, that would qualify as a worldview statement.

But it’s still not as simple as believing, “There is no such thing as God.”  It’s more like, “Show me some good solid evidence and I might believe it.  Otherwise…”

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Posted: 01 February 2014 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Dogmatic statements that “atheism IS” this or that have no place among rationalists. There are many forms of atheism. “Atheism is the belief that there is no such thing as God” is called positive atheism. More valid and better reasoned, in my opinion, is negative atheism, which says there is no evidence of a god. I have several reasons for preferring negative atheism.

(1) It’s logically defensible. If we value science and want to have any credibility reminding people that non-falsifiable claims cannot be tested, and therefore are not reliable, then we should not run around saying there is no god. If you can’t prove it, then don’t say it.

(2) Along the same lines, by making a positive claim, which we admit we cannot support, we end up doing exactly what the theists do, on the very subject on which we disagree with them. So we end up looking like hypocrites, because we are being hypocrites.

(3) Positive atheism takes the focus away from the method of inquiry and puts it on the answer to the question. But no one has a verifiable answer to that question. All we have are methods of inquiry, some of which are useful and some of which are not.

In no way does negative atheism make us weaker. Theists don’t like it at all when I point out that there isn’t a shred of evidence for their or any other god, as in supreme being. I’m in a much stronger position because I have a position I can defend at every turn.

Of course, anyone is free to disagree. But for Chris’sake, stop with the dogmatic assertions that atheism is only what you would like it to be. It’s demonstrably not true, and makes atheists as a group look ridiculous, thereby weakening our position immeasurably.

[ Edited: 01 February 2014 08:47 AM by PLaClair ]
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Posted: 01 February 2014 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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PLaClair - 01 February 2014 08:07 AM

Dogmatic statements that “atheism IS” this or that have no place among rationalists. There are many forms of atheism. “Atheism is the belief that there is no such thing as God” is called positive atheism. More valid and better reasoned, in my opinion, is negative atheism, which says there is no evidence of a god. I have several reasons for preferring negative atheism.

Just a thought. Would this be “negative atheism”?

It would be easier if we defined what “God” is first. I find that today’s meaning may not have been the thinking of all the ancestors in all the religions. For example, I think Jesus’s outlook on religion would require us today to label him an “Atheist”. As the modern thinking of the beginning of Christianity was not by Jesus’s Gnostic thinking but by parts of his message used with the older religion that Jesus was trying to replace with the Gnostic movement out of Alexander Egypt.

Now, would you call “Gnostic” an “Atheist” movement?

After all, in Gnostic, god is nothing more than “Knowledge” and this knowledge is in us all. And it is this combination of all our knowledge that makes “God”.

This same line of Gnostic thinking use in old Genesis stories starts to make a lot more sense with the stories of the garden and god created earth for man.

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Posted: 01 February 2014 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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MikeYohe - 01 February 2014 10:12 AM

Just a thought. Would this be “negative atheism”?

It would be easier if we defined what “God” is first. I find that today’s meaning may not have been the thinking of all the ancestors in all the religions. For example, I think Jesus’s outlook on religion would require us today to label him an “Atheist”. As the modern thinking of the beginning of Christianity was not by Jesus’s Gnostic thinking but by parts of his message used with the older religion that Jesus was trying to replace with the Gnostic movement out of Alexander Egypt.

Now, would you call “Gnostic” an “Atheist” movement?

After all, in Gnostic, god is nothing more than “Knowledge” and this knowledge is in us all. And it is this combination of all our knowledge that makes “God”.

This same line of Gnostic thinking use in old Genesis stories starts to make a lot more sense with the stories of the garden and god created earth for man.

Reading this, I could kick myself. I avoid labels for this very reason. Who cares what we call it? We spend far too much time trying to have the tail wag the dog. This distracts us from a careful and incisive consideration of the issues.

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Posted: 01 February 2014 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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The problem with avoiding all labels is that if you don’t label yourself someone will do it for you and will probably get it wrong. It might be better to say upfront, “This is what I am and this is where I stand,” and stop the speculation and false labels. False labels do not disappear because you refuse to use labels.. In fact they multiply like toadstools on wet grass.

Lois

[ Edited: 01 February 2014 12:19 PM by Lois ]
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Posted: 01 February 2014 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Of course, Lois, we have no choice but to use labels, sometimes. My point is not to avoid them altogether but to keep from getting so wrapped up in them that we lose sight of the content they are meant to represent.

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Posted: 01 February 2014 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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In agreement with both PLaClair and Lois.
Last June posted “Definition of Atheist”, it got 345 threads. My views on Athiest were changed a couple of times. It was a learning experience for me in several ways.

Wish I could have started the post with the knowledge I had gained by the end of the posting because I wasted a lot of my time as well as other people’s time getting to the final conclusion.

Did end up with a great understanding of “Atheist”. The only problem is to use it in communicating ideas and thoughts, all sides must have the same understanding of “Atheist” and that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

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Posted: 01 February 2014 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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MikeYohe - 01 February 2014 12:58 PM

In agreement with both PLaClair and Lois.
Last June posted “Definition of Atheist”, it got 345 threads. My views on Athiest were changed a couple of times. It was a learning experience for me in several ways.

Wish I could have started the post with the knowledge I had gained by the end of the posting because I wasted a lot of my time as well as other people’s time getting to the final conclusion.

Did end up with a great understanding of “Atheist”. The only problem is to use it in communicating ideas and thoughts, all sides must have the same understanding of “Atheist” and that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Sometimes we have to learn the hard way.  There is nothing shameful about doing that. It’s often the only way. If you hadn’t you might never have learned the lesson. Nobody can start a debate with knowledge gained after the fact.

Lois

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Posted: 03 February 2014 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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The impression I got from reading Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion was that he strictly separates people who are certain there is no God(atheists) from those that admit to not knowing and who take no formal position on the issue(agnostics).

I’d have to read the book again, but from what I remember, in his opinion agnostics are fence sitters who refuse to take the “right” position that there is no God.

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